Wollschlager Honored at Banquet

On Monday, Anthony Wollschlager was awarded the 12th annual Walter Kichefski endowed football scholarship. Wollschlager, the team's starting center, took time following the event to speak with CanesTime.com on the award, spring practices, and upcoming plans for the team.

Five former Hurricanes and two coaches were inducted in the UM Sports Hall of Fame at a banquet on Monday.

Anthony Wollschlager, a senior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. entering his final season, was also honored at the banquet.

"Coming in here I didn't really have to much knowledge of what really it was," said Wollschlager, who was presented with the award by Mrs. Helene Kichefski and Don Mariutto, Sr. "Obviously I was honored, but sitting in here and listening to all the past guys, watching their videos, and just being in the presence of all the guys up there is amazing."

Lewis, Smith, and McNeil all gave inspirational speeches as they were inducted.

"They were all good with their speeches," Wollschlager said. "Ray was obviously real energetic. Wtih the football guys across the board you personally knew what they were talking about. They talked about their families and everything, but when they went to the football part--I am just so lucky to be here at Miami and to be a part of that. It's awesmoe to hear what they are saying and know what they are talking about."

"We are all a family. It's just awesome."

While the other three all had unique stories as to their success at UM and in the NFL, Wollschlager has an interesting story as well and is thankful to be a Hurricane.

He didn't play football until he was in high school and his main sport was basketball as he participated in summer leagues and went to a number of camps.

"When I got to high school the football coach said, 'Hey you're a big boy, you need to be on the football team'," Wollschlager recalled.

While at St. Thomas Aquinas he didn't play much as a freshman as he played on the offensive and defensive line. Then he went to a lot of camps over the summer and started on junior varsity as a sophomore.

After his junior season he was named to the All-State team and then as a senior he was an All-American. Following his senior season he played in four all-star games.

As a highly recruited player he chose Miami over Michigan, Notre Dame, and Northwestern.

"I never thought I would be where I am now," Wollschlager said. "Obviously you have dreams and aspirations, but I never knew it was going to be like this. I always said I could make it if I worked hard enough. I always knew I could if I did. In reality it is just amazing."


SPRING FOOTBALL

The Hurricanes completed spring practices on April 15 with six new assistant coaches including offensive coordinator Rich Olson.

"The spring was awesome," Wollschlager said. "I thought it went really well. I am very happy to see the offense do as well as we did. Yes the spring game wasn't overly amazing."

The defense generally dominates in the spring especially the past four years Wollschlager has been there.

"We've never really had too many good practices in the spring," Wollschlager admitted. "This spring, there were a bunch of days that it was split half and half. The offense was really handing it to the defense every now and again and it felt good thinking that we really were accomplishing something because our defense is always re-loading."

"For us to do what we did with the new coaches, a young offensive line, question marks here and there, to have the spring we did I am really excited about it."

According to Anthony, the most encouraging thing he sees from the team is their "hunger".

"Everyone just wants to kick [expletive]. That's the way it is," Wollschlager said. "Everyone is hungry and wants to get out there. Obviously nobody wants to lose, but nobody will settle for anything less than success. That is what I love. Not that in the past we did, but the way people talk now and the way we have been working, it has been different."


2006 SEASON

Miami will begin their season on September 4 as they host Florida State. The Hurricanes will have seven home games this season including a November 4 matchup against Virginia Tech.

"I am real excited about the year," Wollschlager said. "I know people ask, 'Well what about the offensive line with all of the young guys?' Those guys are going to be good. Yeah they are young, but they'll get some games under their belt and they'll be good."

Wollschlager is the lone returning started on the offensive line. As a senior he is looking forward to being one of the leaders on the team and appears destined to be a team captain.

"With me being a senior and being in that leader spot I am able to pull more guys along with me and not taking anything from anybody," Wollschlager said.


Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

Canes Time Top Stories